Edinburgh, your weekend escape?
You may not have considered it before, but Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, offers tourists a surprising amount to see and do. Whether it is the historic city itself or exploring the surrounding countryside, Edinburgh has something to offer the weekend visitor.
Edinburgh has great transport links with the rest of the UK, but probably the easiest way to travel is by air. Edinburgh is Scotland’s busiest airport and has connections with over 100 UK and European airports; there are also flights to New York and Toronto. One of the most relaxing and fastest ways of getting to the city is by train; for example, the journey from London is around five hours. Edinburgh has easy connections with the motorway network, so driving to the capital is an option, either in your own car or by using the bus and coach network.
No visit to Edinburgh would be complete without visiting the famous castle, sitting atop a volcanic rock at the end of the Royal Mile. Favoured palace of Scottish monarchs, there is much to see, such as the Great Hall and the museums.
Staying in an historical mood, there is the Palace of Holyrood, famous for being the official residence of Mary Stuart during the 16th century. The state apartments, which are still used by the present Royal Family, are open to the public, while the famous Great Gallery has portraits of Scotland’s real and imaginary kings, painted by the artist, Jacob de Wet.
For animal lovers, there is Edinburgh Zoo, home to pandas and penguins, monkeys and meerkats. The zoo sits on the outskirts of the city and is open 365 days a year. There is plenty to see and lots for children to enjoy.
Visitors looking for a little traditional fun should visit Portobello Beach, overlooking the Firth of Forth. During the summer, there are adult and child beach boot camps and sailing regattas. The seafront has good old-fashioned sweet shops, ice cream and crepes stalls and quality restaurants.
Best for a weekend
Edinburgh is ideal for a weekend break; it is only a few hours away from almost anywhere in the UK. There are dozens of airports with services to the city and a quick search on the internet makes it easy to find a flight to Edinburgh. A compact and easily walkable city means there is no need to worry about taking a car. Edinburgh Castle is only a short walk from the Palace of Holyrood and there is plenty to see along the Royal Mile. Edinburgh has an abundance of good selection of quality restaurants and bars. Evening entertainment is varied, with plays at an arts venue and night-time castle ruin walks, so there is little chance of being bored.
Where to stay
Like any major city, Edinburgh has plenty of options when it comes to accommodation. Choose from a city centre hotel, right alongside the castle or somewhere on the outskirts of the city. Hotels range from international chains, such as Hilton and Radisson, independent bed and breakfasts and serviced apartments with cleaning services and onsite restaurants and bars, ideal for families or groups of friends.
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